His future has come under much speculation with the signing of Jack Butland and interest from the big clubs in the Premier League, and he showed why he is watched on a regular basis with a good performance. He claimed most crosses that were put into his penalty area and organized his defense well against the threat of Pogrebnyak, but could not stop Mariappa's late header.
His battles with Pogrebnyak were physical with both players 100 percent committed to winning the ball. The defender did well to limit what his opponent was able to do to test Begovic.
Stayed close to Blackman throughout and rarely gave the Reading debutant an opportunity to threaten the Stoke goal. He didn’t look the coolest on the ball and his touch sometimes put him in danger but he was able to recover before being punished.
Shared the responsibility with Shawcross to pick up Pogrebnyak and when he was called upon he handled the Russian well. It was a powerful battle between two strong players but Huth made sure the striker wasn’t able to turn and shoot at goal. He grabbed the opener just after the hour as he rose above Pearce to head past Federici at the back post.
Had a tough challenge trying to stay with Kebe and the winger did get the better of him on a few occasions but his crosses were easily cleared. As you would expect Wilkinson never shirked a challenge and left Hope Akpan on the floor in the first half with a particularly strong, but legal, tackle. He was replaced by Cameron late on.
He was able to get at Kelly on a couple of occasions and deliver decent crosses into the penalty area but neither Crouch or Walters was able to profit.
Worked his socks off in the middle of the pitch; making good challenges and important interceptions whilst always keeping his side moving and going forward.
Full of life down the right hand side but not used enough to create anything of note in the first half. When he was called into action he showed glimpses of skill that enabled him to find space but his finishing was poor. He was replaced by Jerome in the 65th minute.
Solid alongside N’Zonzi in the midfield, he took more of a creative role and tried to unlock the Reading defense with some good looking passes but the Royals backline remained strong, and he was later booked for a tackle on Leigertwood.
He battled away against Mariappa and Pearce with a fair bit of success but that generally was only in flicking long balls on and the spare defender was able to mop up the loose ball. He had a best chance of the first half as he chested a cross from Kightly and volleyed towards goal but Federici saved well.
A first half with very little to work with will have frustrated the striker who didn’t get a sight of goal at all. He missed a fantastic chance just before Huth's goal, shielding the ball well before volleying on the turn but he fired over the bar.
The Australian keeper handled the few crosses that came into his penalty area in the first half well and reacted well to tip Shawcross’ effort over the bar. He made an excellent save from Crouch before half time, pushing the striker’s volley over the bar at full stretch. However he couldn't get to Huth's header, the ball clipping the underside of the bar as it flew into the back of the net, and had no chance with Jerome's strike.
Looks to have a good understanding with Mariappa at the back as together they kept the Stoke front two fairly quiet. He rose for headers when required and made good tackles on the edge of his penalty area to protect his goalkeeper.
The experienced full back was beaten on a couple of occasions by Kightly but for the majority of the game he was able to deny the winger space to cause problems. He never got the opportunity to show his quality from set pieces in an attacking third, something that Reading (and the game) could have really benefited from.
Threw himself into every aerial challenge with Crouch and had some success against the tall striker. There were times that he was beaten but his defensive partner Pearce was able to help him out. He gave his team hope late on with as he flicked a header past Begovic but it was only a consolation.
He had one of Stoke’s best players up against him in Etherington and the winger gave him a busy afternoon, but he managed well and although he did let some crosses come in he was lucky that the Stoke forwards were unable to benefit.
The midfielder has made the step-up from League One effortlessly and had another good game for his new side. The former Everton trainee looked good when in possession of the ball and tried to be positive at all times, pushing his side forward.
Spent the first half playing in a more central position than normal and he did okay but never really posed a threat to the Stoke defense. He moved out to the wing in the second half and had some success but wasn’t able to feed the Reading front two. Replaced by McCleary in the 74th minute.
He fought hard in midfield alongside Akpan against N’Zonzi and Whelan whilst also providing a good shield in front of his back four. He never moved away from that role which limited the attacking threat from the visitors' midfield.
Looked to run at Wilkinson whenever he could and had some success but his deliveries tended to be poor, either over or under hit leaving Pogrebnyak with nothing to work with.
Had a very frustrating afternoon with nothing even close to a sight of goal as Reading struggled to create any chances. He battled well against the Stoke defense and linked up well with Le Fondre when he came on but openings remained limited.
The 23 year old was making his first start for the club following his January move from Sheffield United and he spent the opening half on the left wing having little success. He moved up front in the second half and was better but was easy for the Stoke defense to control, he was replaced by Le Fondre in the 57th minute.
Replaced Wilkinson late on.
Replaced Kightly in the 65th minute and gave his side a much needed burst of energy. He was the match winner with his late strike, a beautiful half-volley after controlling a high ball well whilst holding off Pearce.
Replaced Crouch in the 65th minute and brought the game to life with his strength and link up play.